rice, potatoes and plantain

After graduating from university I needed some time away from my comfortable life and to get new inputs from abroad. This resulted in three months travel to Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador in the fall 2014. A journey which featured many amazing experiences, however, very few of the gastronomic kind. First and foremost, it’s an eye opener to travel in countries where food is not an everyday property of all people. It gives food for thought when one considers how much food that each day is thrown out in many other parts of the world, and how we should be better reallocating our resources.

That said, I must say that their local cuisine was a huge disappointed for a food loving young lady like me. Large amounts of tasteless rice, over cooked potatoes, greasy chips, low-grade sausages, plantain, maize along with that fast food vendors are becoming increasingly more visible in the streets. And that food often is served in a handy yellow plastic bag on didn’t improve the food experienced.

Like many other countries in South America Bolivia is going through a nutritional transition, due to globalization. This transition consists on a change in the population’s diet from a traditional diet generally based on local products, to a diet, rich in high-density foods, food products not providing any nutrients and especially fast food.

No matter where you are in the country, capital or small villages, one will experience that large companies like ‘Coca Cola’, ‘Nestle’ and ‘Maggi’ fills the shelves of any kiosk with highly processed, low-quality food products. These products have become so cheap that even the poorest part of the population, often those who have the greatest health challenges, makes use of these items on a daily basis.

A sad and extremely worrying development whose solution can be difficult to spot from the big glittering billboards of commercials and a hungry population.